Italy will be “under-represented” at cannes: no movies will be presented on the prestigious albeit perilous competition catwalk. mio fratello è fi glio unico by Daniele luchetti is in the certain Regard section and centochiodi by Ermanno olmi will be shown at a special screening in honor of the director. We are not going to refl ect upon or discuss this disappointing situation. Whatever anyone says, this great Festival has always had a special respect for italian movies. This is proved by the presence of various personalities attending in a number of capacities – on juries, giving master and acting classes, tributes, special recognitions. What is, however, particularly surprising and disappointing is the news that italian producers are increasingly choosing to have their movie sales handled by foreign companies. confi rmation of this trend is the fact that luchetti’s movie is on the Thinkfi lms list. as far as olmi’s fi lm is concerned, at the time of writing nothing is yet known, but “¦ Why does an italian producer decide not to entrust his movies to one of the many national exporters, people with vast experience and solid contacts all over the world? There are many answers, and they are not very fl attering.
Firstly, one observation: in italy people talk about a “movie system” but we don’t seem to be able to actually realize one. Every “institution” marches to its own tune, relations are oft en complicated by misunderstandings, aggravated by structural inactivity and dizzying changes in top management. Public and private speak two diff erent languages and can’t seem to fi nd a translator. legislation and support for cinema, promotion and representation tend not to rhyme with commerce. so it seems. Everybody looks towards the shining light of the legendary unifrance, unattainable in terms of years of experience and budget, but little is done to emulate it, even in intentions. These choices could be made out of xenomania, for economic reasons (guaranteed minimums, co-production agreements in the pre-production phase “¦), or alleged prestige (the refl ected glory of being on the same list as certain internationally famous fi lmmakers). Even though “” in the opinion of more than one person “” this damages the movie in the long term as it ends up in a general melting pot where it is ignored, undervalued and placed at the back of the queue. This is a shame because evidently the italian movie industry”” despite the pre-festival complaints “” must be going through a very interesting creative phase if foreign companies are willing to represent it on the market. important occasions which could be a great help, such as screenings of national products, have been suspended for the last two years until further notice: markets and festivals are not enough. The exact opposite is happening in the rest of Europe: screenings are organized, promotional initiatives involve dealers and not just artists, even small productions are entrusted to national exporters.
in short, the system isn’t working. Everybody is marching to their own tune, pointlessly wasting eff ort and money, of which there is always desperately little.
Cinema&Video International 5-2007